Management jobs in transport and distribution companies are open to numerate graduates of any discipline, and an additional European language is valuable
Trainees may move to managing distribution centres in mainland Europe or marketing the company's services abroad. Further information can be found in transport and logistics.
Companies of all sizes nowadays make use of an increasingly globalised network to obtain supplies and distribute goods, with logistics and distribution managers taking the lead on ensuring efficiency.
Large businesses with overseas manufacturing operations or multiple suppliers are keen to maintain standards and hiring staff with linguistic abilities and cultural awareness facilitates monitoring and negotiations. The remit is far broader than many people assume, so in this function you could take responsibility for planning, manufacturing, quality assurance, contracts, storage and transportation of goods, as well as systems management.
The Baltic Exchange in London is the world centre for matching cargoes with ships. You don't have to be a graduate to get into shipbroking, but firms increasingly prefer to take graduates.
Some shipbroking firms also act as ships' agents through their representatives in foreign ports. They deal with local operational matters on behalf of a ship's owners. Knowledge of one or more foreign languages (particularly Greek, Norwegian and Japanese) is helpful, although English is the language of international shipping.
There are also opportunities in commercial shipping operations, collectively known as the Merchant Navy in the UK. Although officers may not require a degree, these professions can offer significant responsibility and extensive international travel through a life at sea as part of a truly international community.
On-shore roles include marine specialisations of surveying and law as well as administrative work in shipping companies. Languages can be put to good use in this sector both on land and at sea; see the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) .
Freight forwarders offer a specialist service to importers and exporters. They arrange documentation, customs clearance, packaging and insurance, understand international rates and routes, and may specialise in certain commodities or regions of the world. Most firms are small and have few vacancies.
Language skills are a great asset when coupled with analytical, negotiation and problem-solving skills. For more information, see freight forwarder.
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